A couple of months after moving back to Innsbruck, I decided to organise a clothing swap party. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know many people and wasn’t sure if someone would show up.
However, it turned out great! So many people came, and it was super fun, plus we all got cute and free clothes.
In this article, I want to share how I did it, step-by-step, and inspire you to host a clothing swap party on your own.
First, declutter your closet. Then, bring all of your unwanted clothes that are in good condition. The clothes will be spread around, and all the participants can check out the rest of the clothes.
You can take whatever fits you well, and you like it, free of charge. That way, you will get “new” free clothes, and the ones you don’t want anymore will find a new owner – so it is a win-win!
Ultimately, everything left can be saved for another Clothing swap or donated locally.
onsider if you want to make a smaller or a bigger event. For example, if you invite up to 10 people, you can host the Clothing swap party at your home.
You can prepare by getting a few drinks and easy snacks, and you can also mention that people can bring food & drinks, too.
If you plan to make a bigger event, it is best to find a spot. In my case, I contacted a few coffee shops that I often visit. One of them was happy to host the event, so I did that.
Consider writing to local coffee shops, non-profit organizations or groups, a local charity, etc. Go directly to the place, or send them an email!
You must prepare hangers, clothing racks, a changing area (a bathroom is okay), and mirrors for a bigger event. For my event, we used a lot of hangers and a clothing rack.
We didn’t have enough mirrors, which wasn’t a deal breaker, but it is something I will consider better the next time.
Creating an online event is a good idea, even for a smaller Clothing swap party. That way, you can easily send it to all your friends and include all the rules there.
I created a Facebook event and shared it in local Facebook groups. You can create an event on Facebook or use any of the following sites and make a free invitation:
Eventbrite.com, Konfeo.com, Billetto.co.uk, Evite.com, etc.
Create the event/invitation at least 1-2 weeks in advance. Then, if you want to create a bigger event – promote it on your social platforms, forums like Reddit, and local Facebook groups.
Clothing swap party rules
There should be a few basic rules so it is fair and people know what to expect:
- Note a minimum and a maximum number – Ask people to bring 5 – 10 pieces and 20 at most. In the event I organized, a lady came with a full suitcase of old & non-desirable clothes. However, it was my mistake since I forgot to add the maximum number of clothes people can bring. Note that quality goes over quantity.
- Only things in good condition – Accept only clean items in excellent condition. If clothing items are in poor condition, including stained, smelly, scratched, or broken, they should be recycled or repurposed.
- Bring reusable bags – Everyone has reusable bags at home, which is the perfect time to use them. This will reduce the need for single-use plastic or paper bags.
- Set a time & date – Consider a date and time when most people will be available. I organized my Clothing swap party on a Sunday from 10:00 until 14:00.
- Be specific about what people should bring – People commonly bring clothing items, shoes, scarves, hats, jewelry, purses, etc. You can make it a “bring anything you want” swap party or make it specific for kid’s items, clothing, books, Christmas stuff, kitchen tools, beauty items, accessories, etc.
- First come, first served – The first who finds a piece and likes it – will take it, even if more people like it.
Of course, you can modify these rules, but they can be a helpful start.
Start the Clothing swap party
When people arrive, I ask them to add their items to the hangers and let them know they are welcome to take anything they like.
I also reminded people to be mindful and to take things they genuinely need and want.
After all, a Clothing swap event aims to clean your closet and not clutter it again with more things you aren’t sure you will wear.
Have a plan for what’s left
Once the Clothing swap party is over, you will probably end up with extra stuff that no one was interested in. You can save them for the next Clothing swap event or donate them.
We decided to donate the leftover clothing and found places that accept donations in advance.
If you want to donate them, it is best to find (in advance!) places, such as local charities, where you can donate unwanted clothing.
If it’s further away, ensure you have transportation, as you might have plenty of extra clothes.
Benefits of a Clothing Swap Party:
It is like shopping without spending money since you will get “new” free clothes.
Getting rid of unwanted clothing sustainably:
Decluttering and cleaning out your closet is always a good idea. That way, you will free space for new items and make someone happy with your unwanted clothes.
Meeting new people or hanging out with friends:
While getting free clothes, you can hang out with your friends and even make new ones! As I said, I organized the event just after moving to a new city, so it was a fantastic way to meet new people.
You will have an immediate audience who will give an honest opinion if an item of clothing looks good on you.
All sizes and shapes are welcome:
There is usually something for everybody, as these clothing swaps include everything from tops and bottoms to jewelry, purses, shoes, and other miscellaneous accessories.
Good for your pocket:
If you want to save money but need certain items, a Clothing swap event is a great way to find free clothing pieces!